Saturday, March 1, 2008

Key Features of Indian Budget 2008-2009 with regards to Senior Citizens

I have found following in the current Budget which according to me will benefit Senior Citizens, Also its important that the Government has started to take note of Elders:

National Rural Health Mission (NRHM):
Under National Rural Health Mission 8,756 primary health centres have been made 24x7.

National Rural Health Mission (NRHM): 462,000 Associated Social Health Activist have been trained, 177,924 villages have sanitation committees functional and 323 district Hospitals have been taken up for upgradation. Allocation to NRHM has been increased to Rs. 12,050 crore.

National Programme for the Elderly:
1) National Programme for the Elderly to be started in 2008-09 with a Plan outlay of Rs.400 crore.

2) Two National Institutes of Ageing, eight regional centres.

3) A department for geriatric medical care in one medical college/tertiary level hospital in each State to be established during the Eleventh Plan period.

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana:
To be implemented with effect from April 1, 2008; Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme enlarged with effect from November 19, 2007 to include all persons over 65 years falling under the BPL category expanding beneficiary cover from 87 lakh to 157 lakh; Rs. 3,443 crore being allocated in 2008-09 as against Rs.2,392 crore in 2007-08.

Direct Taxes

For a senior citizens, the threshold limit increased from Rs.195,000 to Rs.225,000.

Senior Citizen Saving Scheme 2004 and the Post Office Time Deposit Account added to the basket of saving instruments under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

Additional deduction of Rs.15,000 allowed under Section 80D to an individual paying medical insurance premium for his/her parent or parents.


Income Tax Act to be amended to provide that reverse mortgage would not amount to "transfer"; and the stream of revenue received by the senior citizen would not be "income".


It has to be seen if all this is implemented and benefits ALL - Rich and Poor Elders.

I would like people to discuss and deabte on this topic,and show their support or concern with the cause of Elderly to the finance minister of India.

Also this initiative by Government should be supported by the corporate sector by including Elder Care in their CSR.

Every Elder is Special

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tend to disagree with you as far as benefits to Senior citizens.
Who in the past defined and decided definition of Senior Citizen? 60 Years for Railways and Banks.and for I.tax .there are two categories...A senior Citizens age 60 years and above and A senior Citizen 65 years and above.? Does Govt feel that sufferings(economic) for 60 year Sr. Citizen is different from that of a 65 year old? Inflation and rising prices of daily essential commodities affects equally to both groups.
Some Air lines define Sr. Citizens as age 62 and above and some others 60 and above.Why this discrepancy?
Even for Sr.Citizen's savings scheme eligibility age is 60 years..then why two slabs for I.tax? I feel there is no Sr. Citizens lobby in Parliament to represent this case.
Moreover Mediclaim Insurance cover is not offered by one and all Insurance companies if you are above 70 years( actually you need more medical care after 70 years). Those who have already taken Mediclaim policies the Annual premium is jacked by about 40%. by all Insurance companies from the year 2007-2008.Is Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss listening?
Some Sr.Citizens who get regular pension ( and some get free medical treatment even after retirement e.g. Reserve Bank employes are a Luckey lot)and therefore do not feel the pinch of ever rising prices but what about those private sector employees who were given A fat provident fund (employees + employer's contribution...with Interest) plus Gratuity etc...at the time of retirement but over a period of time their Value of money has depleted to a misrebly low level.?
In Maharashtra Sr. Citizens above the age of 65 are offered 50% concession while travelling on Ordinary State .Transport( Red and Yellow) Bus but NOT on Semi Luxury Bus or so called Asiads? Why? Does Govt. Maharashtra feel that sr. citizens of age group 60- 65 have more money so that they can afford to pay full fare and suddenly when you cross 65 years you become poor ? And why not offer a lesser concession to those above 60 years?

GOVERNMETS (Central and all states) must sit down and once and for all decide "Who is senior Citizen? and make it applicable from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Mumbai to Kolkata.?

If Supreme court(In my humble opinion) intervenes in small matters like stray dog non-killing and making Helmet compulsary( I challange any Judge of Supreme Court to wear a Helmet and Travel for 20 kms on busy road in peak hours in MUmbai and experience dicomfort experienced by heat and sweat generated by sultry Mumbai weather) which at best should have been left to be decided by state governments them why can't a sitting Judge suo moto take up this case of huge Sr.Citizen population and direct the govt. to define who is Sr.Citizen and make it compulsary for all states to follow the definition?

Just a little digression from main topic,the menace of stray dogs is going beyond control in Mumbai...recently a stray dog started chasing a school girl in Andheri and the poor girl ran for her life and was crushed by speeding Truck. Who is responsible for her death?
Similarly for Helmet. There are certain points where Trafic Police lay "trap" for catching 2-wheeler riders riding without helmet. Most of the drivers pay "Chiri-miri" and goaway and only a fraction pays fine of Rs. 100. ( This is very very common scene and if you have patience you can observe from a distance how many pay the prescribed fine how many get away by filling Havaldar's pocket)This happens once in 365 days....You can drive without Helmet for remaining 364 days...this is mockery of rule! In city like Mumbai where roads are narrow and Trafic is so heavy that one cannot drive at high speed..is this helmet compulsion warranted? Yes, On highways where speeding is possible this must be observed but there Trafic Police are conspicuous by absence and speedsters simply zoom past Trafic police and Trafic police has no mechanism or arrangement in place to catch such a rider by next signal. Also other simple alternatives like NOT offering ANY COMPENSION to a rider if he is involved in an accident and was found not wearing Helmet at that time of accident? Insurance companies can add this clause to their policies.

I would welcome readers views on this. Please forward this letters to as many Sr. Citizens for their views.
Regards,
Anand UKidwe
amukidwe@yahoo.com